It seems every time I see Dalston’s finest gypsy blues merchants The Urban Voodoo Machine, it’s a different venue. They sure like to get around. I’m not complaining though, great variety gives a different feel to each show. Not that this London collective need any help in the variety department. Every show The Urban Voodoo Machine perform is different due to the ever revolving line up and the crazy stage antics that go down. So while regular guitarist Tony Diavolo and saxophonist/all round entertainer Luci Fire Tusk are MIA for tonight’s performance, their replacements for this tour do a mighty fine job in bringing their own thing to Paul-Ronney Angel’s party.
The last time we crossed paths was an epic two hour/two set 15th anniversary show at The Brudenell just a few miles away. That was an incendiary, packed out and sweaty gig, probably the best I’ve seen them. Tonight at The Wardrobe is a much more intimate affair, but none the less a bombastic rock ‘n’ roll show to behold. After all, it is The Urban Voodoo Machine and this band does not do mediocre.
Joining the core band that includes upright bass, two drummers and accordion/keyboard player Slim, are a two piece brass section and a young guitar slinger who happens to be the offspring of one of the band’s past players.
Instrumental surf jam ‘Police Paranoia’ gets things off to a ripping start, as ringleader Paul-Ronney Angel, a whirlwind of black ‘n’ red and his face grease painted white, leads the 8 piece band through a magnificent set that spans their 15 year career.
Our illustrious leader takes us into old classic ‘Down In A Hole’. With its bluesy, big band sound and cool gang backing vocals, it’s an early highlight that gets the crowd a-movin’ and a-groovin’. Live favourite ‘High Jeopardy Thing’ is brassy and classy in equal measures, the band incite the crowd to click their fingers, as the reverend Gavin Smith plays that skulking bass line. P-R, his voice as gravelly as his soul, has the crowd in the palm of his hand, taking us back in time to some sleazy speakeasy for a shot or two.
New single ‘Johnny Foreigner’ fits the set just fine. The laid back groove leads into a jubilant and overly-catchy chorus. The topical lyrics are backed up by the ‘Fuck Boris’ pin badge P-R wears proudly on his hat.” I’ve been living in this country 25 years” he shouts…” Fuck the Tories!” Well, this is billed as the ‘fuck Brexit Autumn Tour’ after all!
The sombre ‘Fallen Brothers’ and ‘Goodnight My Dear’ are dedicated to lost band mates; guitarist Nick Marsh and fiddle player Rob Skipper, gone but never forgotten. Other highlights? Well, ‘Orphan’s Lament’ sounds as fantastic as ever and ‘Crazy Maria’ is a high energy blast of mariachi infested glory that can never fail to get the crowd moving and the glasses emptied.
Crazy stage antics and slapstick comedy moments are rife. They include the frontman wringing the sweat from his headscarf into someone’s glass, getting a crowdsurf lift to the bar to collect a shot, and miming into a supposedly broken mic (is this thing on?). Paul-Ronney Angel is a pro who has this entertainment lark down to a fine art and manages to enrapture a whole room no matter the size or the clientele.
The band end the show as they began by forming a procession through the crowd, and culminates with the whole band standing on tables by the merch stand for an impromptu jam to close a memorable show that was more of a raw, rock ‘n’ roll show than the usual over the top circus.
With a new single and a tribute album (‘Friends & Family Album’) on record shelves, plus a new album due out before the spring, the future looks bright for The Urban Voodoo Machine. Let’s just hope those damn Tories don’t scupper their plans for world domination. With so much uncertainty in the world right now, it’s reassuring to know every night is a good night when The Urban Voodoo Machine rolls into town.
Ok, so the title is a lyric from a U2 song about October but thats the closest Dublins favourite son is gonna get to RPM singles club and to be fair he wouldn’t stand a chance with some of this months singles. from multi-platinum recording artists to some of our favourites paying homage to the gods of Metal none the less its another mixed bag of genres but the standard is the usual high bar we like to set. So without further waffle lets plug the jukebox in and do us all a favour…
Down N Outz – This Is How We Roll (UMC) An uptempo rock and rolla from Joe and the boys sees some neat riffola on the verses courtesy of The Quireboys’ Paul Guerin and Guy Griffin. The band are nicely rounded off by Keith Weir (keyboards), Share Ross (Bass, ex Vixen) and Phil Martini (drums, Wayward Sons) Its the first track taken from the album of the same title and it doesn’t really sound too similar to any of the associated bands and is more in tune with Elliott’s love of ’70s glam rock and Mott The Hoople which is never going to be a bad thing. Buy Here
The Drowns – Hold Fast (Pirates Press) Heres the technical piece – this 12“ one-sided record will leave just about any vinyl collector speechless. On first inspection, this may seem like it’s a picture disc, but it’s not! As the leaves in the wreath are actually transparent! This one-sided record is actually digitally printed on the non-groove side, with two separate passes through the machine, creating one very cool (and very limited!) brand new style of 12“ – pressed on real vinyl, sounding great, unlike actual picture discs.
The possibilities are endless for creating eye-catching and powerful releases using this new method of digitally printing on records… pairing this brand new format with a band garnering so much praise and generating so much excitement right now is the perfect fit; and best way to spread the word about both things, fast! Right, got that? Wow it looks cool I’m sure you’ll agree but its no good if its joust going to be a wall hanger but The Drowns Hold Fast is a fuckin’ blinding slice of uplifting punk rock. The video for Hold Fast is below so you can check it out for yourself bu t’Demons’ is gang vocals and air pumping fist raised anthems and if this is a sample of what’s to come then the album is going to be something special.
Prohibition Dead – ‘Let Me Live Or Die’ (Why A Bassist Production) Clearly influenced by Queens Of The Stone Age this French two-piece make enough noise for a whole traditional four-piece band – its catchy has a solid foundation and will appeal to a lot of Jack White fans as well as the more grungy types. Its the second track off their soon to be released EP set for November. Its a decent loud slice of Fuzzy alt-rock so if that’s yer bag and you are partial to some Black Keys and QOTSA then fill yer boots this will please ya. Buy ‘Let Me Live Or Die’ Here
The Hip Priests / Spaceforce – Split (Speedowax) With shit island heading for implosion and the last 45 round-up not having a Hip Priests single included I was beginning to give up hope and was thinking whats the chuffin point then this bad boy turns up. With the finest sleeve to date, it was down to the boyz makin all the noiz to offer up a reason for continuing and they not only give us one track but two and drag along Spaceforce with one for good measure. ‘My Damnation’ and ‘Play It Loud’ are not so much passable little ditties but the latter is a fuckin’ order Play it loud is like Iggy and Ron joining Biff and the boys and kicking out the jams. ‘Play It Loud’ In your neighborhood! too damn right. as for ‘My Damnation’ its total potty mouth and like a heavyweight boxer punching you on the sly right below the belt love the bridge BVs and the solo rips (of course it does). It never gets boring saying it but they simply have no peers in the 45s stakes and there isn’t anyone making records as consistently good as these reprobates.
As for Spaceforce it’s a thankless task really but they hammer away like Maiden when DiAnno was da man (and when they had something to say) on ‘Ignition’ and their take on the Venom classic ‘Black Metal’ has my respect, you gentlemen, are all Hellbound. Black metal and little green men? I fuckin love this shit? Stonker of a single and the artwork is pure fuckin genius. Single of the month and might well be single of the year! How’s that!
BATS – The Call Of Cthulhu (Self Release) With the forthcoming release of their third studio album ‘ALTER NATURE’, this is the first video off the record. A dark as fuck take to be fair noisy, yup we like noisy. Messed up – yup again we like messed up. Twisted, ok you get the picture. It’s their first piece of new music in seven years. I’m still trying to work it out = nutters’.
The Empty Page – ‘You’re Tame'(Punk Fox records) Cats! but wait before we get carried away with the fluffy creatures we do need to tell you this single is available digitally everywhere and also on limited edition splatter 7″ vinyl from Rough Trade and other select indie record stores. The band stated it was an unashamed slice of 90s alt rock in the vein of Veruca Salt or Hole and we say theres nothing to be ashamed of there guys it might indeed have that retro outsider feel to it and the video is rather Terry Christian The Word about it but thats cool. Don’t smother your wild side you Empty Pages just keep being you doing what you do and when it’s as good as this and the previous singles then we’ll keep listening and telling others to follow suit. Do it and aren’t they cuddly? and those cats! (*No musicians were harmed in the making of this video) it’ll be on limited splatter vinyl and have the previous single on the flip side. Cool as.
oso oso “Basking In The Glow” (Counter-Intuitive Records) About to embark on his first UK tour here’s our introduction to Oso Oso with a great piece of guitar pop – power pop if you like it’s catchy and full of that raw guitar-driven pop not a million miles from some of the stuff Butch Walker puts out hows that for a none too shabby name check? . Check it out via the medium of video and just in case you’re curious here are the tour dates for this week coming around England – Oct 16 MARGATE, Elsewhere, Oct 17 BRIGHTON, Green Door Store, Oct 18 MANCHESTER, Deaf Institute, Oct 19 LEEDS, The Key Club, Oct 20 GLASGOW, The Hug & Pint, Oct 22 BIRMINGHAM, Sunflower Lounge, Oct 23 NOTTINGHAM, The Bodega,
Oct 24 LONDON, Boston Music Room, and Oct 25 BRISTOL, Louisiana All tickets are on sale now HERE
Mono In Stereo – ‘Different Kind Of Man’ (Rum Bar Records) Taken from their second album ‘Can’t Stop The Bleeding’ this uplifting honest slice of Heartland rock n roll with attitude it’s infectious like a bit of Springsteen if he recorded after a night on the dark fruits and a fistfight. Great rock n roll is always a good place to be and these cats nail it.
45 Rally – Tweets For My Sweet (Rum Bar Records) Tank tops and ties. Ok, its a first but we’re a broad church. 45 Rally are swinging their pants for sure it’s like some hip house party house band from the swinging ’60s with authentic tambourine backbeat sloppy backing vocals and awesome keyboards. ‘Bigly’ is up first and don’t take too long settling down or you’ll miss it. Like the Fuzztones chirpy brother theres nothing dark here it’s bubblegum garage done very well indeed and all the song titles come from Trump tweets! could have covered an album full from that bulb but an EP will do for starters Garage Rock from Switzerland who’d have thought it?
The Urban Voodoo Machine – Johnny Foreigner (Gypsy Hotel Records) Taken from the compilation album, ‘The Urban Voodoo Machine’s Friends And Family Album Vol 1’ it’s the band’s riposte to the xenophobia and rise in the UK of all things English nationalism and a rise by right-wing extremists that’s indeed been stinking up the place since Brexshit. We love ya Paul-Ronney Angel and of course you can stay, our home is your home, we don’t own this shit island. The Urban Voodoo Machine are as magnificent as ever with their sleazy booze-soaked bop n stroll and yet another must-have track gets added to their repertoire. Facebook
Dirty Sound Magnet – Skull Drawing Rose (Hummus Records) Swiss Psychedelic Rockers Dirty Sound Magnet the latest single from the Album due this week ‘Transgenic’ it isn’t even the longest single we’ve ever had on the 45rpm round-up that title goes to those pesky Hip Priests but this is the first psychedelic progressive Hard Rock song we’ve had entered our charts. Go fill yer boots ya pixie loving flute wielding prog rats.
The Crookeds – Sucker For Pain (Golden Robot Records) Some classic rock leanings add yet more textures to this month’s 45 RPM round up. Australian rockers The Crookeds bring their riff laden rock to the club where they mix up some alt rock with a more classic rock sound. With loud guitars and a Buckley esk soaring vocal. check it out rockers!
Lazybones – Trash Talk (Say Something Records) Inspired by the likes of Black Sabbath, Sex Pistols and Chas & Dave, using a fuzzy bass guitar, an amplified organ and drums, Lazybones create a trashy, unapologetic, to-the-point British sound. and ‘Trash Talk’ is a loud and unapologetic romp. All the way to the chorus its a bumpy ride but when you get there it’s like screaming on top of a mountain like PJ Harvey riding a rocket. You can stream this along with other Lazybones songs on Spotify the band head out around the UK later this month and early next to bosh gig goers over the head with their fuzzed up alt pop – check em out. Here – WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagram
A Bunch OF Jerks – Dirt Nap (Rum Bar Records) The first track off their second album has the neat lead single ‘Dirt Nap’ – A snotty spikey slice of Garage punk. Where the gang vocals are young, loud and snotty and they mix up some B52s with a raw punk rock old school. It’s in yer face and will follow you around all night as you find your self shouting “Dirt Nap” at random intervals. This Boston awesome foursome come armed with a full-length (ooh er Mrs.) album where ‘Dirt Nap’ is lifted from and if this is anything to go by we’ll be all over some more of that. Check it out ya punks! Besides they had a song called ’70s Euro Minge’ for fuck’s sake what’s not to like. They obviously have all the right credentials Facebook
The Good The Bad And The Zugly – Staying With the Trouble ( Fysisk Format) What nice guys GBZ are. Offering to hold ones hand whilst we navigate these troubled times. Always great to hear what these loons are up to and they’ve not made a bad record yet. With this being the first peek at what’s to come on the new album ‘Algorithm & Blues’ it sounds a little restrained if I’m honest (in a good way obviously) Its anthemic and will make for a wonderful experience live I’m sure of that. Norway is delivering some fantastic bands and music at the minute and These bad boys are at the top of the pile now get your ears around this and pre-order the album because they’re touring early next year. I’m staying with the trouble and they can hold my hand any day. Facebook
Territories – Quit This City/Defender (Pirates Press Records) Wow, what a stunner this is to wrap up this singles Club. Hailing from Calgary and following on from their debut long-player last summer these two songs just blew me away. Its heartfelt chest-beating punk rock these longtime friends have been cutting their teeth for quite a while around Western Canada and since that debut album they’ve been building up a head of steam to this point and from the quiet intro of electric guitar and voice we then break out and deliver a stunning rousing single in ‘Quit This City’.
As the band gear up for their first jaunt to play Rock The Boat this will more than confirm their qualities and worthy place for being on that ship and kicking ass. I hope it won’t be a case of man overboard as the audience won’t be able to stay still when this erupts. The B side might be more solid paced with its thumping, driving bass line its so good I couldn’t resist digging into the bands back catalogue. Exciting times ahead. Go check em out and tell em RPM sent ya! Facebook
Douglas Glenn Colvin is better known as Dee Dee Ramone (September 18, 1952 – June 5, 2002) Arguably the main songwriter who brought punk rock to the masses, Dee Dee was and is a legend. Wielding his white Fender P well below the recommended belt buckle guideline and known as the guy who counted in every Ramones song ever 1-2-3-4 – Dee Dee had it all.
Initially the band’s lead vocalist, though his (then) inability to sing and play bass at the same time resulted in original drummer Joey Ramone taking over the lead vocalist duties (however, he still sang lead vocals in the band on occasion most notable ‘Wart Hog’). Dee Dee was the band’s bassist and songwriter from 1974 until 1989 when he left to pursue a short-lived career in hip hop music under the name Dee Dee King. He soon returned to his punk roots and released three solo albums featuring brand-new songs, many of which were later recorded by the Ramones. He toured the world playing his new songs, Ramones songs and some old favorites in small clubs, and continued to write songs for the Ramones until 1996 when the band officially called time on the whole circus.
Dee Dee struggled with drug addiction for much of his life, particularly heroin. He began using drugs as a teenager and continued to use for the majority of his adult life. He appeared clean in the early 1990s but began using heroin again sometime later. He died from a heroin overdose on June 5, 2002.
Born in Virgina Dee Dee was the son of a German mother and a father who served in the Military. Which was why Dee Dee found himself in Berlin until 15 then after his parents separated Dee Dee settled in Forest Hills where he first met Johnny And Tommy.
After playing in prog metal bands and getting married in 78 Dee Dee lasted until 1990 married to Vera then he married Barbara who looks over his estate until this day but had to wait until 95 when his divorce was finalised. She blamed drugs and mental illness for the strain on their relationship. During this time Dee Dee found fame (no fortune) after he named the band siting Paul McCarney as the inspiration for Ramone.
Dee Dee wrote about what he knew and where he lived. The Ramones songs are gritty and to the point and whilst one of their most famous songs was first recorded by Johnny Thunders due to Johnny not wanting to play songs about drugs but he later relented. even when he left the band he still wrote songs for them and always remained closely involved even joining in when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll hall of fame the first year they qualified to be inducted and shortly after Joey had passed away. the tragic decline of the band continued when Dee Dee himself passed away shortly after his appearance where he congratulated himself on his achievements as a Ramone.
He wasn’t only a punk rocker Dee Dee also tried his hand at Rap and became Dee Dee King if you can check out his rap work Tupac or Chuck D he wasn’t. His later years as a recording artist were scattered and chaotic with live records and eps coming out poor quality recordings and little else Dee Dee descended into skin and bones He also wrote a book Memoirs of a Rock and Roll star and tried his hand at acting. Dee Dee had it all yet he had nothing. He was laid to rest in Hollywood not far from his fellow Ramone Johnny however Dee Dee has a more modest stone with the Ramones seal and the words “O.K…I gotta go now.” engraved on the bottom. Dee Dee probably doesn’t get the kudos for his significant part he played in music, ok acting and rapping I’ll concede but as a songwriter, he was one of the best and that’s a fact the amount of songs he wrote is phenomenal although the band credited them evenly it was well known that Dee Dee was the main man and for that alone RPM salutes Douglas Glenn Colvin. May he rest in peace.
Nick Marsh 1962-2015. Most famous for being the voice and guitar player in Flesh For Lulu and later an integral part of Urban Voodoo Machine. After his diagnosis, Marsh documented the early months of his battle with the disease through Facebook. “I didn’t know how else to approach it really,” he told Classic Rock. “I just thought, ‘Here I am.’ Facebook is like an open diary if you want it to be. I just felt like I wanted to do that. I don’t know why now.”
Marsh came to the public attention in 83 when his band Flesh For Lulu crawled out of the legendary Batcave Goth Club. the following year they released their debut album they certainly got noticed and became an underground hit. IT was several years later when they got a big break when ‘I Go Crazy’ was featured in a hit John Hughes movie ‘Some Kind Of Wonderful’ which helped propel the band into the American underground where they did rather well especially with their singles as opposed to their albums. the band broke up in the early ’90s. Marsh went on to form Gigantic in the mid ’90s but that didn’t quite see out the decade which meant Flesh For Lulu was reformed just as the noughties were dawning.
It wasn’t until Marsh found a home as an integral member of Urban Voodoo Machine that he re-emerged no our radar. 2003 was the year and Marsh alongside his commitment to swinging the six string with the Blues punk Bop n Stroll merchants he also found time to record a solo album, ‘A Universe Between Us’, in 2006, revealing a much gentler side of his music, a more introspective sound that created huge soundscapes as big as the sky and quite beautiful songs they were too.
Before his passing, Marsh had been working with his wife, Katharine Blake (formerly of Miranda Sex Garden and The Mediaeval Baebes), under the moniker From the Deep who released the album to much critical acclaim. but finally before his passing, he revived Flesh for Lulu with a new lineup and plans for the future, but those plans were sidelined when he was diagnosed with throat and mouth cancer. After going through radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Marsh – feeling upbeat about his chances for recovery – launched an IndieGoGo campaign to finance the recordings and plans to tour alas that was in 2013 and then in 2015 at the age of 53 Marsh was taken from his loved ones after cancer returned. He leaves behind an impressive, versatile and above all quality legacy that his partner and two daughters can be proud of as future fans will no doubt discover his talents – Nick Marsh Rest In Peace.
This is the debut mini-album of No wave blues if there’s such a thing. Born out of barroom frequented by midnight dwellers from Stiv Cantarelli and the Silent Strangers its dark smokey and in league with some black magic that’s for sure. With one hand on the Gun Club back catalogue and the other on the steel strung guitar and overdriven amp that has been used previously by the likes of Gallon Drunk and Birthday Party for sure and you could throw in a healthy (or should that be unhealthy does of The Cramps) for good measure.
‘Barrellhouse Queen’ is like a morning after come down when your head is banging like a big bass drum and everything sounds so distant. The tension created is mesmeric and whilst at times feels claustrophobic it also feels like its the audio equivalent of the great wide open and all panoramic all within one song. that just doesn’t so much grow but envelops the listener and the louder you can get away with playing it the better.
Reverb-heavy feedback-laden its got warmth and atmosphere for sure and that Alan Vega drum echo is chilling on ‘Headspinner Blues’ and as the slide hits the guitar and the strings vibrate it sends a chill right up my spine. I’m taken back to when I first heard Jesus and Mary Chain and their debut single hit my stereo its the same gut-wrenching primal scream (no pun intended) its got a heartbeat that says 50’s rock n roll but its also raging against contemporary music and all its studio trickery as this sounds like its one take one mic one idea – done ‘Mr. Williamson’ fades like smoke rising from a burning pyre.
‘Broken Bones Blues’ is like suicide meets the delta blues and my head is banging along to that distorted beat. to cap it all off if you need any encouragement the final offering is a mesmeric beat beating away entitled ‘Down At The Public House’. Get this on the road along with Paul-Ronney and his Urban Voodoo Machine who would be the ideal drinking partner for this slice of dark underworld Rock and Roll. Waste no time in sourcing this out if you’ve ever had a hankering for any of the bands referenced in this review because your going to love this no doubt about it.
with Summer just around the corner, the (dis) United Kingdom was warming up nicely surprisingly May was a rather quiet month for the scribes at RPM well before RPM but you get my gist. Ben was getting his head around The Future Shape Of Sound and their ‘Showdown Gospel’. Whilst we’re on the subject of the Gypsy Hotel it might be the right time to mention that Urban Voodoo Machine also released a record this month which happened to be a compilation record entitled ’15 Shots From The Urban Voodoo Machine’ which wrapped their singles and bits and bobs up very nicely into the one package and it seemed like the best idea to then go out and tour the record. I also got to see them once again and same as before and the time before that etc etc they were absolutely awesome and never fail to play the most entertaining live show out there.
whilst we’re on the subject of records released in May 2018 I have to mention a few of my personal favourites that put out great records firstly a man who should need any introductions but I’m going to anyway – James Williamson & The Pink Hearts. featuring (The Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs) and Petra Haden (Haden Triplets) with the fantastic ‘Behind The Shade’. also I have to note that Kevin K also put out his something like 95th solo album ‘Too Much too Sun’ I might jest about how many records the guy has released but he’s a phenomenon and deserves respect for the amount of time and effort he puts into his music and I love it when he does release his next CD and even if he says no more, trust me he will.
Also in the pre-summer rush, those cool cats from Burbank California Prima Donna saw fit to release ‘S/T’ and much like Urban Voodoo Machine they can do no wrong in my eyes and have never made a bad record. Kevin Preston leads the band into their Fourth Long Player this time coming out on the excellent Wicked Cool Records now a four piece line up ‘4 Real’ was released as the lead single from the album.
Also casting our minds back to May, Beach Slang released their long-awaited Quiet Slang altar ego that featured a whole long player full of orchestrated tunes entitled ‘Everything Matters But No one Is Listening’. James Alex is one talented guy and going from alternative rocker to string arrangements and softly delivered tunes such as the amazing ‘Dirty Cigarettes’ is no easy step. Fantastic record and not only one of this month’s highlights but one of the years highlights.
On the live front, there were a few tours that went out most notably the doubleheader that was Zeke and The Hip Priests tearing it up across the UK which Fraser noted as one of his years’ highlights.
However, it has to be noted he (Fraser Munro) also managed to see Steps play Waddon Road which is Cheltenham Towns football ground the same month he saw Zeke and the Hip Priests so maybe Zeke affected his head or he bumped it whilst on the good ship Thekla? Maybe he didn’t and he’s really a massive steps fan as he also is rumored to have a picture of Ian Watkins on his wall lets hope its the real H and not some imposter – you decide.
On that bombshell maybe its best we leave May and quickly delve into June. I’ll leave you with two of the finest albums of 2018 in the shape of ’15 shots’ from the magnificent Urban Voodoo Machine and Quiet Slang’s ‘Everything Matters’.